Portland Winterhawks Bringing Life To The Regular Season In Advance

With a month before training camps begin, the Portland Winterhawks continue a furious dash to the finish line.  

Don Hay, an associate coach of the Winterhawks, has signed on with the Kamloops Blazers in the same role. The move is not surprising as Hay’s family resides in Canada and, at 68, is not likely to succeed Mike Johnston as coach of the Hawks. In addition, the Blazers are the host team of the Memorial Cup, something Don won during his stay as coach of the Vancouver Giants in 2006. 

This leaves a gap in the coaching staff where the rumor mills churn. 

With Travis Green and Kyle Gustafson being let go from the NHL Vancouver Canucks, one of these two might fit well in the mix in Portland. There is also the issue in Spokane, where a coaching position remains. Both are young and could make strong overtures to either spot. Interesting that Matt Bardsley is a former Hawk and GM of Spokane, so there are ties to the Hawks in two locations. Stay tuned; it’s going to be an exciting ride. 

Other Hawks making the news were Oliver Bjorkstrand being traded from Columbus to Seattle for a pair of draft picks. Closer to home, Oliver brings a wealth of experience to the Kraken and will suit their style nicely. 

Dawson Pasternak, who dealt with a short season due to injury, was a silver medalist in the U-19 ball hockey tournament in Winnipeg. He looks to be ready for action come training camp. 

Josh Mori helped his team to win gold and took the MVP ranks in The Maccabiah. The event is the world’s largest Jewish athletic competition in the tradition and values of Maccabi, emphasizing the centrality of the State of Israel in the life of the Jewish people. Playing on the Canadian team, they went 5 and 0 and defeated the US 5-4 in the final in Israel.  

Former Winterhawk Tyler Wotherspoon has signed a two-year, two-way deal with the New Jersey Devils, while Nino Niederreiter has signed a two-year deal with the Nashville Predators. Chase DeLeo has signed a two-year, two way deal with Anaheim Ducks, while Nic Petan inked a two-year, two contract deal with Minnesota Wild. Two-way deals work like this – players receive the full salary if, with the parent club, they receive a downside guarantee if with the AHL. 

Former popular player with the Winterhawks, Cody McLeod, announced his retirement after 17 pro seasons.  

Marek Alscher was drafted in the third round at number 93 by the Florida Panthers in this year’s NHL Draft becoming the 146th Winterhawk to be drafted in the NHL ranks since 1976. 

With training camp to start in a month, the Hawks also were able to draft one import which they used on Czech native goaltender Jan Spunar whom they signed to a standard WHL contract. 

It leaves goaltending as a big question this coming season.  With twenty-year-old Dante Giannuzzi and nineteen-year-old Lochland Gordon already on the Hawks’ radar, adding an eighteen-year-old now makes for an interesting look. Dante gave way to Taylor Gauthier for most of the second half of the season and all of the playoff games this past season, while Gordon was reassigned to Sherwood Park, Alberta. Gauthier, now signed on with Pittsburgh, means he is unavailable as he aged out, and it will be interesting to see what tandem the Hawks go with now.  

The Hawks have also announced the regular schedule, with several events already disclosed. 

The home Opener is Saturday, October 1, against Tri-City. 

New Year’s Eve will see a tilt with Everett Silvertips. 

Teddy Bear Toss will be Saturday, December 10, versus Seattle. 

Mascot Night Saturday, March 4 vs. Tri-City. 

Hockey is For Everyone with three dates: Women in Hockey Saturday, November 19 vs. Kamloops Pride Night Friday, January 27 vs. Swift Current, and Saturday, February 11 vs. Seattle in Black History Night. 

They have also scheduled a noon game on Monday, January 23, against Spokane on President’s Day. 

Though it’s well passed, Saint John Seadogs won this year’s Memorial; Cup with a 6-3 win over Hamilton Bulldogs. Hamilton was in the final after a win over the Shawinigan Cataractes in the semi-final. Edmonton Oil Kings placed fourth in the tournament. 

The annual golf tournament happens Monday, August 29, with a dinner event the night before at Pumpkin Ridge. More Information is available by contacting jasonn@winterhawks.com

With that. we are pretty much up to date and look forward to bringing you the lastest news here at OSN!

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About Stuart Kemp 322 Articles
Stuart Kemp is the Immediate Past President of 15 years of the Booster Club. and has been following hockey from his native Canada since he can remember, though he can't skate, but played road hockey for several years. Loving hockey and professional wrestling, he has traveled to most of the WHL cities and with wrestling, has seen four provinces and five states. It is true that every Canadian city with more than 500 residents has a hockey rink, well at least it looks that way. Stuart has had his hand in every facet of independent Professional wrestling as he debuted as an announcer in 1986 which started his career.